Do clues to Amelia Earhart mystery lurk beneath the sea?
Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan before they famously disappeared in 1937.
July 2nd, 2012
02:04 PM ET

Do clues to Amelia Earhart mystery lurk beneath the sea?

A deep-sea expedition will launch from the shores of Honolulu on Tuesday in an attempt to solve the mystery of vanished aviator Amelia Earhart, according to the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.

The group will launch its Niku VII expedition 75 years after the first ship set sail in search of Earhart, her navigator Fred Noonan and their Lockheed Electra aircraft.

The initial launch was set for Monday, but was pushed back to Tuesday because of a scarcity of flights to Hawaii, according to the expedition’s daily reports Web page.

“Meanwhile, the technical staff is very glad of the extra day,” a recent blog post from the group said. “There are always glitches, stuff that doesn’t work quite the way it should, tests that need to be run, toothpaste to be bought, and the additional time will allow for these issues to be resolved while still in port where there are stores and cell phones and other markers of modern civilization.”

Once out of the port, the crew will set sail for Nikumaroro Island in the South Pacific, where researchers believe Earhart landed, was stranded and ultimately met her death during her doomed attempt at an around-the-world flight in 1937.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery has been investigating the mystery surrounding Earhart’s death for 24 years, has launched eight prior expeditions and has developed a comprehensive theory of her disappearance and last days on earth.

“This is the hi-tech deep water search we’ve long wanted to do but could never afford,” the group said on its website. The expedition is funded by corporate sponsors and charitable donations.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery theorizes that Earhart and Noonan landed on Nikumaroro Island - then called Gardner’s Island - after failing to find a different South Pacific island they were set to land on. The pair is believed to have landed safely and called for help using the Electra’s radio. And in a twist of fate, the plane was swept out to sea, washing away Earhart and Noonan’s only source of communication. U.S. Navy search planes flew over the island, but not seeing the Electra, passed it by and continued the search elsewhere.

"What makes this the best expedition is the technology we've been able to assemble to search for the wreckage of that airplane," Rick Gillespie, executive director for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, told CNN on Monday. "We have an autonomous vehicle. We have multibeam sonar above the University of Hawaii ship we're on right now. We have a remote-operated vehicle to check out the targets (and a) high-definition camera. We're all set."

At a conference in Washington, D.C., last month, the organization announced its newest study suggesting that dozens of radio signals once dismissed were actually transmissions from Earhart’s plane after she vanished. Discovery News reported that the group has discovered there were 57 “credible” radio transmissions from Earhart after her plane went down.

Earlier this year, the organization also discovered what is believed to be a cosmetics jar once belonging to Earhart on Nikumaroro Island.

"All these things we can't explain unless the woman we think was there, was there," Gillespie said.

More on Amelia Earhart:

Finding Amelia Earhart: New clues revealed

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Filed under: Aviation • History
soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Turk

    If I had a dollar for every poorly planned, drunkenly navigated, money making journey I have set out on, with no arrival... I would have like 6 bucks!

    July 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    What a bunch of crap! How did the plane get washed out to sea? A sunami? How does a plane get washed out into the ocean and these two survived? Get serious!

    July 2, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • halo1322

      You obviously don't understand physics or hydrodynamics... BAKAMONO!

      July 3, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • peter

      By crashing close to shore and if you look up how weather works in that part of the world, you MIGHT just learn something, but I doubt it!

      July 3, 2012 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. Turk

    They clearly didnt properly tether it down on the ramp at the airport?! Its a remote island. A strong wind could blow a plane like that into the surf, and easily wash it out to sea. Its not a jumbo commercial airliner!

    July 2, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Davis

      Turk, what airport? It is a desert island. That means NOTHING is there. They were running low on fuel and it is believed they landed in or near the water along the shoreline. A tidal surge or a large wave (or series of large waves, possibly from a storm or normal sea conditions) could have swept away the plane.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. edvhou812

    So they are going to look at the bottom of an ocean for a woman that went missing 75 years ago at the age of 39. Let me guess: If they find her she will be dead.

    July 3, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. George Davis

    HA! HA! Either you have an incredibly dry sense of humor or you are clueless. She's been dead 75 years.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dave

    Women drivers.......

    July 3, 2012 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. rick1948

    While her death was a tragedy, the fact that people are still looking for the remains is a testament to the saying, "some folks have more money than common sense."

    July 3, 2012 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. IronDuke

    I hope they can bring closure to this mystery...but my hopes aren't high on this one....sad some find humor in her loss....

    July 3, 2012 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ferd of Aragon

    She used to be my chick! I miss her!

    July 3, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. Pygar

    A reporter made up the "fact" that Fred Noonan was a drunk. He was, in fact, perhaps the best air navigator alive, who literally planned routes for airline use. He simply lucked out, trying to find a tiny island with inadequate tools and little help from the Navy, who let their RDF gear battery go flat just when it would be needed. And the island wasn't even where it was listed as being...

    July 3, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert McCabe

      Does anyone care? I don't.

      July 3, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. DDSilks

    I thought Ameila Earhart was travelling alone when her plane went down.

    July 3, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Hear Ye

      Looks like you thought wrong

      July 3, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hasher Iva

    If they solve it, it'll be another good mystery ruined. As one post said, "...more money than common sense."

    July 3, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. Shawn

    The sad thing about her missing is the US received radio transmissions from her navigator giving their coordinates for days and they ignored it thinking it couldn't possibly be them. Not responding to it or sending out a Search & Rescue Party.

    Then, 50 years later it turns into a "mystery"

    July 3, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • mklsgl

      Spend 10 minutes and educate yourself about Earhart's disappearance. The USN did order a Search and Rescue mission (ships and planes) which lasted at least a week and covered thousands of nautical miles. And, it's been a mystery since the day she disappeared; she was as famous as Lindberg.

      July 3, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Pinebelt Bob

    I hope the lack of toothpaste doesn't hijack this mission. Luckily, there was an extra day to get some. Wonder what other clues to mysteries might lurk beneath the sea?

    July 3, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. BethTX

    Women pilots, huh?

    July 3, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
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